The Pros and Cons of Cleansing Your Scalp With Baking Soda Shampoo

Updated 08/04/19
Russell Sadur/ Dorling Kindersley/ Getty images

Let us guess: whenever your hair feels lifeless or weighed down from product buildup, you try to combat it with your usual shampoo, dry shampoo, and other styling products, but they never seem to do the trick. Sometimes they even make matters worse. Sound familiar? If you’re currently fighting this seemingly never-ending cycle, what you need is a clarifying cleanser or treatment. We get it; it's hard to justify spending the money on a special shampoo that you only use occasionally, but what if we said you didn't have to? As it turns out, the secret to a deep clean is an ingredient likely sitting in your pantry right now: baking soda.

Piling on the product isn’t always the best way to handle hair that won’t cooperate. On the contrary, sometimes what your strands really need is a little detox, and that's exactly what baking soda does for your hair. A natural clarifying agent, baking soda works to clean hair by gently removing the buildup from each strand. But before you go sprinkling the powder all over yourself, there are a few things to understand before getting it a try. Keep reading to find out not only how to make your own baking soda shampoo, but also how to wash your hair with the solution and the benefits of doing so.

Directions

Making your own baking soda shampoo isn't as complicated as you might think. The below recipe, which only requires two common household ingredients and three steps, is quite possibly the simplest DIY shampoo mixture you'll ever try.

1. Mix together 1 part baking soda with 3 to 4 parts water to form a paste. Experiment to see which mixture and consistency you like best.

2. Scrub the paste into your hair and scalp. Let it sit for a minute or two; then rinse clean.

3. Finish with an apple cider vinegar rinse to restore the pH balance of your hair and scalp and to add shine to your strands.

Benefits of Washing Your Hair With Baking Soda

Using baking soda shampoo has many plus sides. It contains no parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, DEA/diethanolamine, dyes, or fragrance. Instead, it is made of a single, all-natural ingredient: sodium bicarbonate. Unlike some hair products that leave a filmy buildup on the hair, baking soda clarifies and helps to keep your hair free of dandruff. And the best part? It costs basically nothing, nada.

Tips and Warnings

For a successful experience with baking soda shampoo, check out these tips:

  • Baking soda shampoo works best when it's mixed right before you use it. Pick up a small travel-size bottle or reuse a bottle that you already have and whip up enough for a single wash. Just a scoop of baking soda, a bit of water, and a quick shake, and you're ready to jump in the shower.
  • Commercial shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, causing your scalp to produce more and more. Baking soda doesn't do this (and that's a good thing), but it will take time for your body to adjust its oil production. Don't be surprised if your hair feels greasier (or drier) than usual when you first make the switch. As soon as your body adjusts, your hair will look and feel better than ever, and it'll stay clean longer, too. Most baking soda shampooers find that they only need to wash their hair a few times a week.
  • As with any shampoo, you should avoid getting it in your eyes.

The Bottom Line

For some hair types, baking soda can be a little too drying if overdone and shouldn't necessarily serve as a replacement for your everyday shampoo, but it can be a good weekly treatment or a good alternative on the days when your hair refuses to cooperate. Whether you choose to add the kitchen ingredient to your routine as a cleansing booster, in place of your shampoo on occasion, or paired with an apple cider vinegar rinse, this easy baking soda shampoo recipe might just be the easy and inexpensive refresh your hair needs.

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